Friday, February 09, 2018

Publishers Lunch

Today's Meal

Lagardere Publishing reported fourth quarter and full-year sales results on Thursday (and, in the European tradition, will not report earnings and complete 2017 details until March). Acquisitions lifted the group just above previous results, rebounding from a soft third quarter, with fourth quarter sales of €624 million (up €5 million), and full year sales of €2.289 billion (up €25 million). Acquisitions added €7 million in the fourth quarter, and €33 million in the full year, meaning performance was down slightly without those additions. The company blames that on the weak British pound -- and in the year to come the weaker US dollar will also weigh on their results. Those modest results are in line with what chief executive Arnaud Nourry had told analysts in the middle of the year, saying he "would not bet on significant organic growth for the year."

In the fourth quarter, sales at HBG USA rose 3.6 percent, thanks to Pete Souza's Obama and good results from their Nashville division. Hachette UK declined 14.3 percent, on the comparison to last year's Harry Potter-driven quarter, even with the help of a string of acquisitions. The big French division saw an 11 percent increase, driven by the "success of bestselling titles in illustrated books," Dan Brown's Origin, and "a good performance in distribution."

For the full year, that French division gained 3.4 percent, and their Partworks business was up 8.8 percent. The inclusion and integration of Perseus in the first part of the year (since the unit was acquired in April 2016) added €17 million, the Brainbow and Bookouture acquisitions added €8 million each, and IsCool Entertainment added €2 million. In the first half of the year -- prior to acquisitions of Jessica Kingsley Publishers, Summersdale, Kyle Cathie and Meadowbrook Press in the fourth quarter -- they had spent €37 million on publishing acquisitions. The weaker British pound was "chiefly" responsible for a €50 million negative foreign exchange effect during the year.

In the investor call, cfo Gerard Adsuar noted that “the ebook business has had a slow decrease in the US, slightly up in the UK, and is growing in France but on a very limited basis." Ebooks comprised 7.1 percent of fourth quarter revenue, down from 7.6 percent a year ago. He added, “the audiobook market is growing very significantly in the US and the UK and also in France, although it's much smaller, so if we look at digital business all combined we see a growth."

Joy de Menil joins Harvard University Press in the newly created position of executive editor and director of Belknap Publishing, where she "will oversee the rebranding of the prestigious imprint, with an eye to widening awareness of its titles," working from Washington, DC. She was most recently an executive editor at Viking.

At Hachette Books,
Paul Whitlatch has been promoted to executive editor.

Mary Gaule has been promoted to assistant editor for Harper and Harper Perennial.

At Del Rey,
Sarah Peed has been promoted to editor.

Michele Bidelspach is joining Harlequin as executive editor for Graydon House and HQN, starting February 26. Previously she was senior editor at Grand Central.

Rumaan Alam, author of Rich and Pretty and the forthcoming That Kind of Mother, is joining the New York Times Books desk as
special projects editor. In the newly created role, he will "work on elevating existing digital projects, events and visual storytelling across the desk, spearheading new initiatives, collaborating with other desks and extending outside partnerships."

At the ABA, David Grogan has been
promoted to the director of ABFE, Advocacy and Public Policy. Geetha Nathan is now Indie Commerce Senior Manager, and Maria Rodriguez moves up to meetings and office coordinator.

Separately, Kelly Estep of Carmichael's Bookstore in Louisville, KY and Angela Maria Spring of Duende District Bookstore in Washington, DC have both been
nominated to serve on the ABA board for the first time. Pete Mulvihill of Green Apple Books is nominated for a second term, and Bradley Graham of Politics and Prose Bookstore in Washington, DC is nominated for a full term. (He was appointed to fill a vacancy in May 2017.) Jonathon Welch of Talking Leaves Books in Buffalo, NY and Valerie Koehler of Blue Willow Bookshop in Houston, TX will leave the board after serving second three-year terms.

St. Martin's Press announced a number of promotions. In editorial,
Hannah Braaten and Vicki Lame have both been promoted to editor; April Osborn to senior associate editor; and Laura Apperson to associate editor. At SMP Paperbacks, Monique Patterson moves up to editorial director; Eileen Rothschild to senior editor; and Alexandra Sehulster to associate editor. In the marketing department, DJ DeSmyter and Kim Lew both become associate marketing manager; and Titi Oluwo becomes assistant marketing manager. Finally, in the publicity department, Rebecca Lang has been promoted to senior publicity manager; Katie Bassel to publicity manager, and Kathryn Hough to senior publicist.

Poet, author of the memoir Alexander is the author of the New York Times bestseller
The Light of the World, and accomplished academic Elizabeth Alexander has been named the next president of the Andrew Mellon Foundation, effective in March.

Penguin Children's is starting an imprint focused on diverse books, called Kokila, to "add depth and nuance to the way children and young adults see the world and their place in it." Dial editorial director and associate publisher Namrata Tripathi will be publisher of new line, and Joanna Cárdenas moves over from Viking Children's as editor. They expect to publish 15 to 20 titles year, launching in summer 2019.

Rosinante in Denmark has partnered with Rogers Coleridge & White in the UK to represent rights to selected Danish works in the rest of the world. An independent company in the Gyldendal Group, following a reorganization Rosinante is no longer co-owner of the Gyldendal Group Agency, which had handled their foreign rights.

Liz Gately is now scouting for Kagge in Norway.

Following a change of shareholding, Endeavour Press is being reorganized as Endeavour Media. Contracts, publishing team, and royalties will remain the same.

Barnes & Noble will "celebrate the life of legendary bookseller" Bob Wietrak on April 12 at their Union Square store in New York City, from 8:30 AM to 10 AM.

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